Nearly 80 years ago, my parents, displaced by a war in Ukraiina (Ukraine), met in the middle of England.
They settled down just north of Leicester.
Worked really hard, to buy a home and raise a family.
As a young lad, I sign up as a volunteer in the British army, Royal Signals.
Keeping Russia out of England, Britain and Europe, seemed a worthy cause to me.
Loss of your home is more than a matter of money. I’d seen the hole in the hearts of my parents and their friends.
1991 came along.
By that time, I was in Canada, with a family of my own.
Ukraiina declares independence.
Shortly after, my Father visited his old home. Nothing left of the country he remembered.
Mother never went. Nothing to see.
No-one from our family remains in Ukraiina.
Ukraiina struggles for 23yrs to organise democracy.
In 2014 Putin sent in troops to take over Crimea.
Then protests started in eastern Ukraiina, with Russian involvement. Including shooting down Malaysian flight MH17. The protests escalated into a war.
The western media stopped reporting. But the war in the east continued to this year. I know. I was in Lviv to see the brand new section cleared in the cemetery. There was a military funeral, two or three times a week.
This proxy war in the east of Ukraiina continued for 8yrs.
Very few left the country.
On February 22nd, Russian troops moved into two eastern provinces, after Putin recognized their independence.
No-one left the country.
Then on 2022Feb24, Russian troops invade more of Ukraiina. From the north, east and south. The pundits suggesting it would be over in 3 or 4 days.
No-one seemed to believe it was happening.
Nobody was planning to leave.
After initial quick progress, the Russian army is paused in the north, and the east of Ukraiina. Whilst making a little more progress in the south.
The bombing and shelling has escalated.
Starting as a trickle, and in less than two weeks, Putin’s actions have forced over 2million people to leave. Half of these refugees are children.
Pundits estimate the final number will be over 4 million refugees.
That is a lot of people who will have a hole in their hearts.